“It has been a long time coming,” said a champagne-drenched Alex Roepers, owner and helmsman of Plenty, this year’s world champion.”I entered the class seven years ago and this is the seventh world championship I’ve participated in. To win it finally is a dream come true. It feels incredible, I couldn’t be happier. We were plenty nervous coming into the regatta. It is such a strong competition. My hat goes off to all of the other owners and the teams out there.”
Hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, the 2014 Rolex Farr 40 Worlds welcomed 19 international entrants from Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Turkey and the United States. The competition was first held in 1998 and has been sponsored by Rolex since 2001.
Entrants included the defending champion – Italy’s Enfant Terrible owned by Alberto Rossi – and three helmsmen who had previously won the event. Guido Belgiorno-Nettis on Transfusion (2011, Sydney) and Helmut Jahn on Flash Gordon 6 (2012, Chicago) triumphed on home waters while Jim Richardson won a joint-record three times on Barking Mad (1998, 2004, 2009). In San Francisco, Richardson was behind the wheel of the Australian-flagged Kokomo.
Farr 40 class rules ensure fair, democratic competition. The one-design boats are stringently checked and controlled to ensure they are equal. The boat’s owner must helm. He is supported by a driven, professional tactician while the make-up of the ten-strong crew must comprise no more than four professional sailors. The formula is simple – the boat which sails best wins.